Don’t let fall’s pleasant weather catch you off guard. It’s time to prepare your home for the winter weather to come.
1. Clean the exterior glass. As the weather cools it becomes more difficult to dry the windows, and the glass will streak. You can clean the inside any time of the year.
2. Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure runoff water drains at least 6 feet from the foundation. Water that pools next to the foundation can seep into the crawlspace or basement.
3. Inspect and recaulk, if necessary, around all exterior window and door frames. Loose or missing caulking allows air to penetrate the wall, which increases your utility costs. A typical home with no exterior caulking allows so much air to enter that it is like having a window open all year long.
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4. Use a quality silicone caulk to seal cracks in exterior concrete pads. Driveways, walks and most patios have “control joints” or lines purposely made in the concrete to control the cracking that will eventually occur. Cracks that are open can absorb rain and snowmelt, and when the water refreezes it can lift the concrete at the joint or cause the cracks to widen.
5. Inspect the crawlspace area of the home. If you are unable to crawl under your home, hire a licensed professional home inspector.
Check for loose or missing insulation on the perimeter walls and rim joists. Make sure all soils or gravel on the crawlspace floor are covered with a 6-millimeters or heavier plastic vapor barrier and all seams are lapped and sealed with tape.
Check under the bathrooms and kitchen for signs of leaks or decay to the flooring. All ductwork should be taped and sealed at all joints and seams. Remove debris from the crawlspace and insulate and add a seal to the crawlspace door.
6.Make sure your chimney is inspected by a certified chimney sweep. A well-used chimney will need to be cleaned and inspected at least twice a year.
7. Remove outdoor hoses. A hose left on an outdoor faucet can freeze and burst through the faucet supply pipe inside the home.
8. Shut off the water to sprinklers or garden watering systems and clear the lines using an air compressor to blow out each zone. If you don’t have the equipment, have a professional winterize the system.
9. Check the attic insulation. Your local building official or a home inspector can estimate the amount of insulation required in your area. Loose fill fiberglass insulation can be blown into piles by winds coming through the soffit vents, and loose fill insulation can be compressed and damaged by walking on it. Evenly redistribute or add insulation where needed.
Check for openings in the insulation where there are bulkheads on the interior of the home. A bulkhead is a dropped ceiling for kitchen and bathroom cabinets or over stairways.
10. Change furnace filters every two to three months depending on the quality of the filter and the amount of dust in the environment where you live. A dirty filter can damage the furnace fan and increase your utility costs. Attach a “filter change” card to the furnace to record the date when the filter is changed.
Note the airflow arrow on the filter and install the filter in the proper direction.